The war in Ukraine left cyber hacktivists divided. Some immediately supported Russia’s war in Ukraine, while others saw the unprovoked invasion as an atrocity and vowed to support Ukraine by any means. A group in support of Ukraine has launched Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against a portal that is crucial for alcohol distribution in Russia. The EGAIS portal is required by the Russian government to be used by alcohol distributors, but DDoS attacks are denying access to the system. As a result, distribution of alcohol across Russia has suffered and the risk of shortages are rising. Researchers identified the EGAIS portal listed as a target on Ukraine’s IT Army telegram channel. This channel is meant to help coordinate DDoS attacks by uniting a cyber task force of volunteers looking to support Ukraine by degrading Russian supply chains.
The global support of Ukraine seems to have been greatly underestimated by Russian authorities. NATO support in the form of sanctions and military power was expected and effective. The volunteer support in the form of open-source intelligence sharing, DDoS attacks, and other cyber operations seems unexpected and unprecedented. The world is witnessing how technology and social media will continue to play a role in global conflicts and how it can be leveraged against nation states. The United States is already seeing an increase in cyber policy as a result of the conflict. The war in Ukraine will affect how countries protect themselves in the cyber domain for years to come and will shape the future of international cyber policies.